16th April 2024
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Several international schools in Spain closed after receiving bomb threats

Several international schools in Spain were checked by police with sniffer dogs while others did not open at all on Monday, after receiving emailed bomb threats which the Interior Ministry said were a hoax.

‘We received an email about a bomb threat last night [on Sunday] at 11pm,’ Noël Jegou, the principal of the French high school Molière in Zaragoza (main image) said. ‘We notified the police as well as the French Embassy in Spain,’ he continued, adding that the school will not re-open until authorities have sorted out the situation. Some 1,000 students are enrolled at the French high school. Two British schools in Zaragoza also received the hoax bomb threats.

According to El Mundo newspaper, at least 18 international schools received a similar email alerting them to the presence of explosives on their premises. The affected centres were in Pontevedra, Tenerife, Zaragoza, Reus, Tarragona, Villareal and Castellón. According to reports, the recipients were not in blind copy, so each one could see that the same email had been sent to 17 other schools.

Members of the Tedax unit (specialist division for deactivation of explosives) of the Spanish National Police visited schools throughout Monday morning to make sure that everything was a false alarm. Some of the schools decided to suspend classes during Monday, while others continued normally after being given the all clear from the security forces.

‘Regarding the wave of threats, complaints are being taken and the investigation is being centralised. They are false threats,’ the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

According to reports, the English Montessori School in Madrid, owned by the UK-headquartered Cognita educational group, also received a threat but police said there was no need to evacuate the school, its head teacher told parents in an email.

It’s not the first time that something similar happened in Spain and Europe. In France, hundreds of false bomb alerts disrupted airports, train stations, schools, colleges and high schools for several months during the past year, forcing authorities to shut down the facilities while they assessed the actual risk. According to the country’s Ministry of Education, there have been a total of 788 alerts in French schools since the beginning of the year.

Lithuania has also faced a similar problem. Earlier this month, the country’s police said Lithuania was dealing with an ‘information attack’ as dozens of schools and other public institutions had received hundreds of bomb threats for three months straight.

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